Just over a year ago I wrote a post on the annual report by Federculture. In 2011, the expenditure of Italian households on culture had increased for the tenth consecutive year, a figure in sharp contrast with all the economic indicators for production, employment and consumption.
Federculture has recently published its 2012 report but this time the figures, a little surprisingly, compared to the steady growth of the previous years, are very bleak: family spending on culture in Italy plummeted by about 3 billion euro against 2011, while our cultural participation, i.e. the number of Italians who took part in more than one cultural event during the year, fell by more than 11%.
What is going on? Books, films and the theatre no longer appeal? Has the recession finally hit cultural consumption too? According to Federculture the data is a result of the lack of attention to the promotion and development of cultural activities by institutions, and the lack of investment in the sector. In fact, Italy brings up the rear for public spending in this area in Europe: the budget of the Ministry for Heritage and Cultural Activities has dropped by 27% in the last ten years.
A year ago I gave the post a hopeful title: culture can save us. It would be good not to forget it.